Friday, June 20, 2014

No Fault in These Stars

Generally, avid book lovers hate their film counterparts, or at least feel the movie did not do the book justice and properly demonstrate the genius of the author. I am normally one of those people, always counting on a film version of a book to let me down. Just one somewhat recent example is Anna Karenina, which essentially did nothing for me after reading Tolstoy's incredible work. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Previously, this included the Lord of the Rings films and some of the Harry Potter films. After viewing The Fault in Our Stars, I can add it as an exception as well.



The amount I enjoyed the film version of John Green's recent literary success astonished me. When merely seeing the actors chosen to portray teenagers Hazel and Augustus, I was immensely skeptical about whether or not they were the right choices. However, it took just a few moments to realize how misplaced this skepticism was. I've always thought Shalene Woodley was an immense talent, especially considering her age. I mean, she isn't Dakota Fanning young or anything, but she hasn't been around that long and has already taken the film industry by storm. 

At first glimpse of the young man they chose to play Augustus, all I could think was "you've got to be kidding me." I mean seriously, he did not match up to what my mind's eye created whatsoever when first reading his description. Actually, the Augustus in the book ticked me off with his pretentious, I-know-more-than-you-do attitude. Hazel rubbed me the wrong way initially in the first pages and then I came around. I never liked the literary Augustus, however. In the movie, he charmed me within minutes. Something about Ansel Elgort's adorable crooked smile, endearing eyes and soothing voice made me adore him instantly. Aside from Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela, no actor or actress was ever cast more perfectly for a role than Laura Dern for Mrs. Lancaster, Hazel's mom. I loved the character in the book- Green really brought her to life with his words. Mrs. Lancaster is the loving, dedicated, sometimes in-your-face "cool" mom that every girl wants. Dern's expressive smile is enough to make me want to melt. She was perfect.

Okay, quick summary: Hazel is a teenage girl with terminal cancer put at bay by an invented anti-cancer drug. One day she goes to a cancer support group at the insisting of her mother and meets sexy cancer survivor Augustus Waters. They fall in love, obviously, and their relationship takes them on a passionate and sad journey together. I won't spoil the ending. You can try to guess, go for it.

Basically, if you like melancholy teen romance stories similar to The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you will love The Fault in Our Stars. Actually, though, it is more than melancholy- it is downright depressing, as you realize from their first meeting that the love between Hazel and Augustus is doomed. Their story definitely makes you realize how much we take our health for granted. There are a lot of really powerful quotes in the movie/book as well.

Somehow, I kept my tears at bay while reading the book but was unable to do so during the film. Bring tissues.

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